First Time User? Enroll now.
COVID-19: Vaccine information, visitor restrictions, and additional resources | Medicaid: The program is changing and you must take steps to keep your UNC Health providers
Home > Health Library > Peritonsillar abscess
A peritonsillar abscess is a collection of pus that forms in tissues around the tonsils. Although uncommon, it can occur as a result of strep throat. The abscess can cause severe pain and an inability to swallow, and you may become very ill.
A peritonsillar abscess may be diagnosed and treated with either a needle aspiration or a small incision. A needle aspiration is a procedure that uses a needle to drain the abscess. A course of antibiotics is given after the procedure. If a needle aspiration is not used, a peritonsillar abscess may be treated with a simple procedure in which a small incision is made in the abscess to drain it, followed by a course of antibiotics.
Surgery to remove the tonsils (tonsillectomy) may be done if you are concerned that the peritonsillar abscess will recur. But tonsillectomy is not needed if you've only had one abscess. Most people who have had an abscess do not have another one.
Current as of: December 2, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Donald R. Mintz MD - Otolaryngology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2021 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
2615 Lake Drive
Raleigh, NC 27607
901 Ridgefield Drive
Raleigh, NC 27609
934 Vandora Springs Road
Garner, NC 27529
1505 SW Cary Parkway
Cary, NC 27511
501 Health Park Drive
Garner, NC 27529